Tonight is the night DC Comics fans have been waiting for, as the highly-anticipated TV series Gotham debuts on Fox with the Pilot episode, airing at 8 P ET. The show opens on the murder of Thomas and Barbara Wayne, the parents of young Bruce Wayne (David Mazouz), and Gotham detectives James Gordon (Ben McKenzie) and Harvey Bullock (Donal Logue) are quickly on the case. Fans will be introduced to a number of younger characters who eventually go on to become iconic DC villains such as The Penguin (Robin Taylor), Catwoman (Camren Bicondova) and The Riddler (Cory Michael Smith).
Gotham is just one of several shows based on DC Comics characters airing this fall, including NBC's Constantine and The CW's Arrow and The Flash. While crossovers between Gotham and these shows seem unlikely, since they're all on different networks, Bruno Heller teased that it may be possible to set up a shared DC TV universe.
"We'll see as we roll on. Precise tone is the important thing in establishing a series, but then you have to see what other shows live in the same universe. Would it be weird if they met up? It's fun for the audience to see that clash, but actually doing it is scary. I hope we do at some point. That's the beautiful thing about being inside the DC Universe, but we'll wait and see what pops and what doesn't."
Back in May, series creator Bruno Heller confirmed that the iconic Batman villain The Joker will be popping up at some point during Season 1, but it isn't clear when that may happen. During a recent interview with Digital Spy, Bruno Heller states that he wants to get the show "up and running" before introducing The Joker, while teasing that fans won't see any of the villains in their iconic costumes.
"There are certain villains that can and do precede Batman. There are others that don't, and we'll play with that. Generally speaking, we won't go to the full theatrical, spandex costume aspect of the villains - the fully-fledged villains - because it's almost not consistent with this world. The Joker didn't think of his shtick all by himself. There must have been someone before who The Joker saw and thought, 'Oh, that's a good shtick. I could work with that and make it better.' It's the same with Batman. There must have been other vigilantes before him who didn't pull off such a good act. We'll play around with those ideas in Gotham. We're going to wait and get the show up and running [before we meet the real Joker]. We want to get the story right and we want to be tonally right - and then we'll start thinking about how to bring him in. We will certainly try to surprise people, and maybe even trick people. It's one of those expectations that everyone will be waiting for, so you can't just present the guy with a big smile and start telling the story. Not that that would be dull, but that's one of those opportunities to really start playing with this."
The creator/executive producer also revealed that Bruce Wayne, played by David Mazouz, was the toughest character to cast in the series, while saying that young Bruce will have a much larger part in the show than he originally thought.
"It's such an important casting and it would've been very dangerous to cast the wrong person in the role. It took a lot of negotiation, a lot of back and forth so that everyone was happy and comfortable that David Mazouz was the right guy. David Mazouz is the best young actor I've ever worked with. He has a profound understanding of human emotion, as well as a focus, concentration and energy that allows you to play adult themes with a kid. David can play very complex, difficult, dysfunctional and sometimes scary material. He's fantastic. The core of the show is Gordon, but Bruce Wayne will certainly play a much larger part in the show than we had initially thought, just because we have that opportunity. It's great."
He added that the show will address how Bruce Wayne ended up as Batman, and he would like to see the series end with his transformation into the Dark Knight.
"We start with a child, but how did he end up as Batman? Things change - that's the beauty of TV - but that's the natural arc of the show and that's where I would like to see it end because essentially that's the story."
Bruno Heller also talked about how he was reluctant to take on a superhero show, but it was his 12-year-old son who suggested that the series center on James Gordon.
"It all started with conversations between Peter Roth [Chief Executive at Warner Bros], Geoff Johns [Chief Creative Officer at DC] and me. To be honest, I was initially reluctant to do a superhero show. Not because I don't like them, but just because I don't really know how to write about people with super powers. Human beings are diminished as soon as a superhero walks onto the screen. As soon as the superhero walks out of frame, you're waiting for them to come back. Our show is a little different because we have Jim Gordon as the moral center. My 12-year-old son suggested Commissioner Gordon as a decent character without super powers to write the show around and that got me thinking, 'What if Gordon was the cop that originally investigated the Wayne murders?' This gave us a starting point and allowed us to tell the saga from a much earlier point than before, without ever having to get into a cape and cowl - and without having to worry about super powers."
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